I threw the ball and Fate, as always was already five feet ahead of me looking in the direction I was aiming. Zinnia stood as my side watching me.
As long as the ball went in the direction she was facing, Fate always got it first.
One time I threw the ball and it veered off to the right. Fate ran but couldn’t find the ball. Zinnia who had been watching me saw where the ball went and for the first time got it before Fate.
I noticed this pattern again the next day when I took a different path in the woods and Fate had already run ahead on the path we usually take. She met up with me and Zinnia, who was paying close attention to me, after a few minutes.
When I later told Jon about it, he already seemed to know.
“Fate’s smart,” he said, “she anticipates what you’re going to do. “Zinnia watches and reacts.” I was kind of fascinated by this, but he found it a matter of fact. “It’s in the breed, Border Collies are bred to anticipate, Labs to wait and watch.
And then I remembered how both Jon’s dogs Rose and Red always seemed to know what he wanted them to do before he even asked them. That must be why when Fate and I walk in the woods Fate will often turn down the same path we did the last time we walked in the woods.
She’s anticipating what I’m going to do.
And it also explains why Zinnia will always run back to me at the end of our walks while Fate will run ahead, slip under the gate and wait in the pasture for me to get there. She knows when I’m on the way back to the farm. She knows eventually I’ll meet her there.
In people, I thought having an idea of what might happen at any time is usually better than just waiting then having to react. But in dogs, from my point of view, both traits have their benefits.
I always find it sweet the way Zinnia runs back to me as if making sure I’m still there when we walk in the woods. But I also admire how Fate always seems to know where we’re going or how to find me if she anticipates wrong.
And however they do it, they’re both really good companions when walking in the woods.